SAN DIEGO — For more than 40 years, Scripps head and neck surgeon Dr. Brendan Gaylis has made a career of saving lives, spending his downtime outside of the operation room playing tennis.

“It’s R&R for me from my work,” said Dr. Gaylis. “I can take my frustrations out on a tennis ball.” 

Sprinkled throughout the decades of Dr. Gaylis’ life, tennis has taken center stage.

“It brings me tremendous joy,” he said. “All I can say is growing up with it, it’s part of my DNA. It’s something I felt like I always had a talent for.”

The Scripps MD Anderson Cancer Center and Scripps Clinic doctor’s passion for the sport extends to multiple tournaments and championship wins, including winning a men’s 45 and over single title here in San Diego back in 2007.

“The biggest thing, certainly for me, is I’m very lucky to have been able to do this for so many years,” continued Dr. Gaylis. “I’ve been playing tennis for over 50 years.” 

That pedigree carried on to another title at the World Medical Tennis Society’s International Competition in Orlando, Florida. 

“It’s a tennis tournament combined with an academic conference,” continued Dr. Gaylis. “Doctors, dentists, can present the work they’re doing at their practices and at the same time have a very intensive tennis event that’s different age groups.”

Medals aside, the 62-year-old strongly believes that staying active is the key to a long healthy lifestyle.

“Tennis is the sport of a lifetime,” said Dr. Gaylis. “You can play tennis until you’re in the 90s, and it’s very soothing for me to go to some tournaments and see people in their 80s and 90s competing.”

Dr. Gaylis doesn’t have any tournaments coming up, but plans on continuing to compete in doubles events with his two favorite partners, his sons.

For more on the story of this neighborhood all-star, click on the video above.